Womenize! Wednesday Weekly is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Sophia Yiasoumi, Director of Consumer Insights at Wargaming. Read more about Sophia in this interview:

Hi Sophia! You are Director of Consumer Insights at Wargaming. First off, what is a Director of Consumer Insights?

As Consumer Insights Director at Wargaming, I head up the Consumer Insights team. Consumer Insights can mean many different things, depending on the company. At Wargaming, the CI team is dedicated to understanding who our players are, what they do in our games, and why they do it. We then use these insights to support decision makers throughout the company.

Our goal as the CI team is to provide relevant, actionable and timely player insights that enable Wargaming to optimize its offering. Similarly, we help inspire development teams to create games that are fun to play, drive engagement, and resonate with the audience. We support product development throughout the entirety of the lifecycle from concept creation to hard launch and beyond.

The CI team incorporates a range of different consumer and market research disciplines, some of the most common of which include: user research, product research, usability studies and market analysis. We use a variety of different research methodologies, including qualitative and quantitative and primary and secondary, to help answer the questions our teams have about different players and the gaming market.

Basically, it’s our job to equip the development teams and decision makers at Wargaming with player (or consumer) insights, to help them make informed decisions about future direction and strategy.

Before working at Wargaming you have worked in various job positions such as Player Insights Specialist, Market Insight Analyst and Research Analyst. We don’t often hear about these kinds of jobs inside the games industry –  why are they so important for the development process inside a studio?

As the gaming industry becomes more and more competitive, understanding players and the gaming market itself is becoming increasingly important. Innovations in technology are changing the way we play games, and player expectations of those games are higher than ever. These job roles may not have been very common in the past, but now they play a key role in strategic decision making within most studios.

Planning and completing consumer research as part of a product roadmap allows teams to implement real player feedback throughout the development life cycle. It gives the development team the opportunity to pivot and adapt plans as necessary before too much time has been invested. Having a solid understanding of the market landscape and competitors allows you to identify gaps in the market, build products that can fill those gaps and create your own USP, giving you the highest chance of success. 

However, it must be said that Consumer Insights is not the only data point for studio developers to base decisions on. Consumer Insights goes hand-in-hand with other analyst functions such as Business Intelligence and UX. Together, all of these functions can give a more complete picture of what is happening in a game.

You hold a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Management as well as a diploma in Digital Marketing. Do you think an academic approach is necessary for someone who wants to pursue a career similar as yours?

I do think having an academic background is important for someone who would like a career in gaming research. Having a bachelor’s degree in a business-related subject is definitely a plus when starting out early in your career. However, the research function in gaming companies is evolving to include areas such as UI/UX research. Now, I would say having a degree or master’s in areas such as Human Computer Interaction and Behavioral Psychology is also very appealing to hiring companies.

My diploma in Digital Marketing has been somewhat helpful, however, I think at the moment my UX certification from the Nielsen Norman group has been the most beneficial in my current day-to-day job. It is more applicable to the type of work that I am doing on a regular basis.

Thank you for your time, Sophia!

Rosa’s Links: LinkedIn | Wargaming Website

WWW Feature by Anne Zarnecke